Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic:
The Insider's Guide

by Teresa Kendrick

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The People's Guide To Mexico

Our Favorite Mexico Books

Scroll throught this page for a complete Recommended Reading list. Click on a Bookshelf Topic below to jump to its page in the Reviews sections. Links from individual book titles will take you to a review of that book. Click on any book cover and you'll jump either to its review or to that book at or Powell's Bookstore, where you can then buy the book or read more reviews.

Recommended Reading Bookshelves:

Mexico City
Copper Canyon & Northern Mexico
Pacific Coast
Colonial Highlands
Lake Chapala
Gulf of Mexico
The Maya

Live & Retire in Mexico
RV & Camping
Natural Mexico
Healthy Living in Mexico
Speaking Spanish
¡Viva Mexico!
For the armchair traveler
Introduction to Our Favorite Mexico Books

For Out-of-Print Books try Powell's in Portland

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As a wannabe writer, one of the first tips I got on career planning was a succinct, “Whatever you do, don’t write about Mexico. Nobody cares.” This warning from a successful writer who had lived in Mexico for decades was based on the New York publishing industry's historical lack of interest in anything south of the border. There are exceptions, of course — especially in guidebooks and academic titles — but if we look at the tens of thousands of new books released each year, Mexico-related publications are definitely scarce.

As for why so many publishers ignore or avoid Mexico, I really don’t have a clue. In fact, given the strong affection so many of us have for Mexico, I would expect readers to jump on books about the country.

Putting aside a possible conspiracy theory for the moment, I want to bring your attention some interesting and some undeservedly obscure titles on Mexico....Carl Franz


The People's Guide to Mexico

By Carl Franz, Lorena Havens & Steve Rogers.

1999 "Best Travel Book" Award

"The People’s Guide To Mexico is encyclopedic. Besides experienced advice on eating, lodging, driving, and shopping in Mexico, the guidebook tells where to find AA meetings, fishing licenses and lottery tickets. It offers first-hand advice on dealing with machismo and discarding (not flushing) toilet tissues. It covers every question we might have and addresses questions we would ask if we knew better."

•Out of Date, but still useful and interesting

Mexico Insight Guide by Kal Muller
Mexico: Places and Pleasures
by Kate Simon
Terry’s Guide
by T. Philip Terry...
Spas & Hot Springs of Mexico by "Mexico" Mike Nelson

Guidebooks to the whole country

Lonely Planet Mexico (12th), by John Noble and several more
Mexico (Eyewitness), by Marlena Spieler
Fodor's Mexico 2010 (Review by David "El Codo Eidell)
The Rough Guide to Mexico John Fisher, Daniel Jacobs, Zora O'Neill, Stephen Keeling
Frommer's Mexico 2010 by David Baird, Shane Christensen, Joy Hepp
Moon Handbook: Mexico by Joe Cummings, Chicki Mallan...
The People's Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz, Lorena Havens & Steve Rogers

Mexico City by Andrew Coe
Explorer's Guide Mexico City, Puebla & Cuernavaca: A Great Destination by Zain Deane
Moon Mexico City
by Chris Humphrey
Lonely Planet Mexico City
by Daniel Schechter, Josephine Quintero
Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler
by Jim Johnston
First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century
by David Lida
Good Food in Mexico City: A Guide to Food Stalls, Fondas and Fine Dining
by Nicholas Gilman
Streetwise Mexico City Map,
Laminated City Center Street Map by Streetwise Maps
El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City
by John Ross
The Mexico City Reader
by Ruben Gallo

The Copper Canyon & Northern Mexico

Northern Mexico Handbook: Including the Copper Canyon by Joe Cummings
Mexico's Copper Canyon Country: A Hiking & Backpacking Guide by M. John Fayhee...
The Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico: Tierra de Encuentro by Richard D. Fisher
Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre: Survivors on the Canyon's Edge
by John Kennedy
Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre: Beer, Ecology, and the Social Organization, John G. Kennedy
Life Through the Eyes of a Tarahumara by Romayne Wheeler
Trails of the Sierra Madre
by Eugene H. Boudreau
Unknown Mexico: Explorations in the Sierra Madre and Other Regions
1890-1898 Vol. 1 by Carl Lumholtz...
God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre, Richard Grant
Tarahumara: Where Night is the Day of the Moon, Bernard Fontana
The Apache Diaries: A Father-son Journey, Goodwin & Goodwin
Trail of Feathers: Searching for Phillip True, Robert Rivard
In the Sierra Madre, Jeff Biggers
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopheer McDougall
The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, Freidrich Katz


The Unforgettable Sea of Cortez: Baja California's Golden Age 1947-1977:
The Life And Writings Of Ray Cannon,
By Gene S. Kira.
The Log from the Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck
The Baja Book III, By Tom Miller & Carol Hoffman...
A Desert Country Near the Sea by Ann Zwinger...
King of The Moon by Gene Kira...
Air & Fire by Rupert Thomson...
Salsa And Chip” by Daniel Reveles...
Baja Adventure Book by Walt Peterson
Almost an Island: Travels in Baja California, by Bruce Berger
Into a Desert Place: A 3000 Mile Walk around the Coast of Baja California, by Graham Mackintosh
The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja California, by Joseph Wood Krutch
Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico, by C. M. Mayo
Baja Legends: The Historic Characters, Events, and Locations That Put Baja California on the Map, by Greg Niemann
Baja Fever: Journeys into Mexico's Intriguing Peninsula, by Greg Niemann
General Guidebooks
Moon Baja: Tiajuana to Cabo San Lucas, by Nikki Goth Itoi...
Baja California & Los Cabos (Lonely Planet), by Danny Palmerlee
Frommer's Los Cabos & Baja, by Joy Hepp
Fodor's Los Cabos & the Baja Peninsula
The Rough Guide to Baja California, by Jason Clampet
Fodor's In Focus: Los Cabos,
Moon Cabo: Including La Paz and Todos Santos, by Nikki Goth Itoi
Moon Spotlight Ensenada and Northern Baja, by Nikki Goth Itoi
•Baja California Road Log by Connie Ellig & David Hopps...
Traveler's Guide to Camping Mexico's Baja: Explore Baja and Puerto Penasco with Your RV or Tent
Moon Baja RV Camping, by Laura Martone
Diving & Snorkling
Diving and Snorkeling the Sea of Cortez::The Most Complete Guide to Baja California's Best Sites, by Susan Speck
Diving & Snorkeling Baja California: Includes the Pacific Coast, Sea of Cortez & the Islas De Revillagigedo
••See Natural History (below) for Plants, Birds, Fish & Sea Life

The Pacific Coast

Moon Pacific Mexico: Including Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Acapulco, and Oaxaca, by Bruce Whipperman....
Moon Puerto Vallarta: Including the Nayarit and Jalisco Coasts, by Robin Noelle & Bruce Whipperman....
Moon Spotlight Mexico's Nayarit Coast by Bruce Whipperman &, Robin Noelle....
Puerto Vallarta & Pacific Mexico (Lonely Planet, Regional Guide) by Greg Benchwick...
Fodor's Puerto Vallarta, with the Riviera Nayarit, Costalegre, and Inland Jalisco 5th Edition...:
Fodor's Puerto Vallarta 2010: With Guadalajara, San Blas, and Inland Mountain ...
Adventure Guide Puerto Vallarta & Vicinity by Vivien Lougheed (2007)...

Mexico's Highlands

One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Mexico, by Guillermo Garcia-Oropeza & Cristobal Garcia Sanchez
Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide, by Teresa Kendrick...
On Mexican Time : A New Life in San Miguel by Tony Cohan [Kindle]
The Insider's Guide to San Miguel
, by A. Dean
Moon Guadalajara Including Lake Chapala by Bruce Whipperman

See Casas & Haciendas

Gulf of Mexico

Adventuring Along the Gulf of Mexico by Donald G. Schueler


••Oaxaca (Moon Handbook) by Bruce Whipperman
Oaxaca Crafts and Sightseeing by Barbara Hopkins

Adventure Guide to the Yucatan by Bruce & June Conord
Guatemala: A Natural Destination
The Lost World of Quintana Roo
by Michel Peissel

•Sacred Monkey River: A Canoe Trip with the Gods
Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan
by John L. Stephens
The Last Lords of Palenque: The Lacandon Mayas of the Mexican Rain Forest
by Robert D Bruce and Victor Perera
Place of Mirrors
by Jeenie Criscenzo
The Heart of the Sky: Travels Among the Maya
by Peter Canby
Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico by Wright, Weidenfeld and Nicolson
A Forest of Kings by Linda Schele and David Freidel
The Maya
by Michael Coe
The Caste War of the Yucatan
by Nelson Reed

Carl's Favorite Guidebooks to Guatemala
Guatemala Guide by Paul Glassman
The Rough Guide to Guatemala by Mark Whatmore and Peter Eltringham
Guatemala, Belize & Yucatán: La Ruta Maya by Tom Brosnahan & Nancy Keller
Henry’s Hint$ On Guatemala by Henry Gall
Guatemala: A Natural Destination
I...Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchu
Sweet Waist of America: Journeys around Guatemala by Anthony Daniels
Guatemalan Journey by Stephen Connely Benz


Lonely Planet Belize, by Mara Vorhees & Joshua Samuel Brown
Rough Guide Belize by Peter Eltringham, Iain Stewart, Dominique Young
Belize: A Natural Destination by Richard Mahler, Steele Wotkyns, Kevin Schafer (Photographer)
Moon Belize, by Joshua Berman
Fodor's Belize: with El Petén
Belize Islands Guide: Guide to Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and the Offshore Cayes and Atolls of Belize, by Lan Sluder [Kindle]
Easy Belize: How to Live, Retire, Work and Buy Property in Belize, the English Speaking Frost Free Paradise on the Caribbean Coast, by Lan Sluder, Rose Emory Lambert-Sluder (Photographer)
Belize Retirement Guide by Bill & Claire Gray
Open Road's Belize Guide by Paul Glassman & Carolyn Graham
Belize First is now an online newsletter

Central America

••Mexico & Central American Handbook edited by Peter Hutchison


Moon Handbooks: Cuba by Christopher P. Baker
Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guides) by David Stanley
The Reader's Companion to Cuba Alan Ryan(Editor), Christa Malone (Editor)
Trading With the Enemy : A Yankee Travels Through Castro's Cuba Tom Miller
Cuba Pocket Guide;
Cuba Traveler's Companion by Kirsten Ellis
Fodor's Cuba
Fodor's Exploring Cuba
Insight Guides Cuba
Moon Handbooks: Havana by Christopher P. Baker
Waiting for Fidel by Christopher Hunt
Ay, Cuba! : A Socio-Erotic Journey by Andrei Codrescu, David Graham (Photographer)

Live and Retire in Mexico

•Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide by Teresa Kendricks
Living Abroad in Mexico
: How to Relocate, Retire, and Increase Your Standard of Living by Ken Luboff...
On Mexican Time : A New Life in San Miguel
, by Tony Cohan [Kindle]
Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexico
, by Tony Cohen
Live Better South of the Border in Mexico
by "Mexico" Mike Nelson... Love with San Miguel: Retiring to Mexico on Social Security
, by Carol Schmidt & Norma Hair
Choose Mexico For Retirement by John Howells, Don Merwin
Belize Retirement Guide How to live in a Tropical Paradise on $450 a Month by Bill & Claire Gray
Under the Tabachín Tree by Celia Wakefield
Mexico Living and Travel by Jean and John D. Bryant
Gringo's Investment Guide
by Ginger Combs-Ramirez

Casas & Haciendas


How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot by John Muir, Tosh Gregg, Peter Aschwanden (Illustrator)
Mexico West Book: A Road and Recreation Guide to Today’s West Coast of Mexico

RV & Camping

Traveler's Guide To Mexican Camping, by Mike & Terry Church
Traveler's Guide to Camping Mexico's Baja: Explore Baja and Puerto Penasco with Your RV or Tent, by Mike & Terry Church
The People’s Guide to Camping, Backpacking & Boating in Mexico, by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
The People's Guide to RV Camping
, by Carl Franz, Steve Rogers & Lorena Havens
RVing in Mexico, Central America and Panama, by John S Plaxton, Elizabeth A Plaxton (Photographer)


Mexico Trails: Your Adventure Guide to 43 Short Hikes and Walking Trails in Mexico, by Gerry Recksiedler...
Bicycling Mexico by Ericka Weisbroth & Eric Ellman
Backcountry Mexico: A Traveler's Guide and Phrase Book
by Bob Burleson, David H. Riskind (Photographer)
A Hiker’s Guide to Mexico’s Natural History
Mexico: Adventures in Nature
by Ron Mader...

Natural Mexico

A Desert Country Near the Sea: A Natural History of the Cape Region of Baja California by Ann Zwinger
On the Road to Tetlama: Mexican Adventures of a Wandering Naturalist by Jim Conrad
A Handbook of Mexican Roadside Flora by Charles T. Mason Jr. and Patricia B. Mason...
Gathering the Desert by Gary Nabhan...
Handbook of Indian Foods and Fibers of Arid America, by Ebeling
•A Flower Lover's Guide to Mexico, by Phil Clark
Mexican Flowering Trees and Plants
, by Helen O'Gorman
Exotic Plants
, by Julia F Morton
Tropical Blossoms of the Caribbean
, by Dorothy & Bob Hargreaves
Tropical Trees and Tropical Blossoms of the Caribbean,
by Dorothy & Bob Hargreaves
Baja California Plant Field Guide
, by Norman Roberts
Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Central America by L. Irby Davis...

Birds of Belize, (The Corrie Herring Hooks Series), by Dana Gardner...
Fish & Sealife
Fishes of the Pacific Coast: Alaska to Peru, Including the Gulf of California
Fishes of the Atlantic Coast: Canada to Brazil, Including the Gulf of Mexico
Reef Fish Identification: Baja to Panama, by Ned DeLoach
Whales and Other Marine Mammals of California and Baja, by Tamara Eder
Sea of Cortez Marine Animals: A Guide to the Common Fishes and Invertebrates Baja California to Panama, by Daniell W. Gotshall
Other Creatures
Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California
Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Guatemala, the Yucatan, and Belize, by Jonathan A. Campbell
A Guide to the Reptiles of Belize, by Peter J. Stafford & John R. Meyer

Healthy Living in Mexico

Staying Healthy In Asia, Africa, and Latin America by Dirk G. Schroeder...
Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner, Carol Thuman, Jane Maxwell...
•Spas & Hot Springs of Mexico By "Mexico" Mike Nelson...


Oaxaca Crafts and Sightseeing by Barbara Hopkins
The Shoppers Guide to Mexico by Steve Rogers & Tina Rosa

Speaking Spanishß

Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish by Joseph J. Keenan
Backcountry Mexico: A Traveler's Guide and Phrase Book, Bob Burleson and David H. Riskind;
Mexican Slang Plus Graffiti
Langenscheidt's Pocket Spanish Dictionary

Cassell’s Colloquial Spanish by Arthur Bryson Gerrard, A. Bryson Gerard
Larousse Diccionario Moderno by Ramon Garcia Pelayo
More Spanish Book Reviews
501 Spanish Verbs

Schaum's Outline of Spanish Grammar
Schaum's Outline of Spanish Vocabulary Spanish Verb Tenses by Dorothy Richmond
Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions by Dorothy Richmond

Helping Mexican's Learn English

Conversando En Ingles/English Conversational Grammar for Spanish Speakers
This book gives Spanish phonetic pronunciation for English words)
Domine Lo Basico-Ingles : Master the Basics of English for Spanish Speakers
El Ingles Practico Para Personas De Habla Espanola
Practical English for Spanish Speakers (Book and 2 Cassettes)
Gramatica De La Lengua Inglesa :

A Complete English Grammar Workbook for Spanish-Speakers
Ingles Sin Maestro Para Estudiantes

¡Viva Mexico!

¡Gringo! by Nick Threndyle
Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico
, by Richard Rhoda and Tony Burton
A War Of Witches: A Journey into the Underworld of the Contemporary Aztecs by Dr.Timothy Knab
Indo-Hispanic Folk Art Traditions Vol. I & II by Bobbi Salinas-Norman
A Treasury of Mexican Folkways: The Customs, Myths, Folklore, Traditions, Beliefs, Fiestas, Dances, and Songs of the Mexican People
Distant Neighbors by Alan Riding
Beyond Culture
The Art of Crossing Cultures by Craig Storti
Mexico South: The Isthmus of Tehuantepec by Covarrubias


•Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives In Mexico By Karen Blue


The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, Freidrich Katz
Judas at the Jockey Club and Other Episodes of Porfirian Mexico
by William H. Beezley...
The Conquest of Mexico by Hugh Thomas
Many Mexicos by Lesly Byrd Simpson

Quest For The Lost City by Dana and Ginger Lamb
Enchanted Vagabonds by Lamb and Cleveland
A Vagabond in Mexico by S. Guzmán-C
A Small Mexican World by Spratling
Viva Mexico! a Traveller’s Account of Life in Mexico by Charles Flandrau
The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People by Patrick Oster
The Volcanoes from Puebla by Kenneth Gangemi
Travelers’ Tales: Mexico by James O’Reilly and Larry Habegger
Face to Face with the Mexicans by Fancis Gardiner Gooch
The Man Who Likes Mexico by Wallace Gillpatrick
The Three Pigs: Los Tres Cerdos by Bobbi Salinas
Where the Strange Roads Go Down by Mary Del Villar, Fred Del Villar, Mary Del Villar & Susan Hardy Aiken
The Bakery of the Three Whores (poetry) by James
Old Mother Mexico by Harry Carr
God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre, Richard Grant
The Apache Diaries: A Father-son Journey, Goodwin & Goodwin
Trail of Feathers: Searching for Phillip True, Robert Rivard
In the Sierra Madre, Jeff Biggers
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopheer McDougall

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C. M. Mayo...
King of The Moon

Rain of Gold by Victor E. Villasenor
Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
Gringos by Charles Portis
The Long Night of White Chickens by Francisco Goldman
by Gary Jennings
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
by Bruno Traven

Would you like to write a book review and send it to us? Email: Carl & Lorena

Found any good websites on Mexico that we ought to include? Send us an email so we can check it out!

Index to Reviews of our Favorite Mexico Books

•1) Guides, People & Places: Mexico General • Mexico City • Copper CanyonBajaGulf of Mexico • Highlands • Oaxaca
•2) Guides, People & Places of the Mayan World • Yucatan • The Maya • Guatemala • Belize
•3) Live & RetireWomen
•4) Driving • RV & Camping • Adventures • Natural Mexico
•5) Food • Healthy Living • Shopping • Speaking Spanish
•6) Viva Mexico • History • Armchair Travelers • Novels

Would you like to write a book review and send it to us?

email to Carl & Lorena

Found any good websites on Mexico that we ought to include? Send us an email so we can check it out!

he People's Guide to Mexico
13th edition
Discover why generations of travelers say they wouldn't cross the border without it! Read the award-winning book: The People's Guide to Mexico

©1972-2011 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens